Category Archives: Accounting, Business & Finance

This is a place for the professional-related stuff I do from time to time. A lot more can be found on

My boss humiliated me in front of everyone in the office, and I told him I’m quitting without notice and now he’s threatening to sue, what are my rights here?

There’s a lot of people writing answers to this, but presumably they must have a salient piece of information which I don’t, namely “where are you?”.

Jurisdiction stranger than fiction

Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of different jurisdictions in the world, and even in the English-speaking world. Depending on where you are and the kind of contract you signed, the nature of the work and projects, etc, you might have a right to leave or you might not.

So the only wisdom I can give, other than go to an actual lawyer in your locality, and preferably not to one who wants your boss’s business, is to reconsider your situation, especially after a good night’s sleep.

A boss giving a subordinate a right telling off. (Subordinate’s eye view).

Praxis makes perfectum

Instead of a legal argument, I want to give you a practical argument. You were, you say, “humiliated” in front of everyone in the office. I think what is unsaid here are the following salient details:

Did you do something that deserved criticism? If so, then accept the criticism, and just say to the boss something like “I know I deserved the criticism, and ought to have done this and that instead of that and this, however, I looked through all the management textbooks I could find and all of them say that a good manager avoids disciplining an employee in public. Do you therefore accept that this was also a mistake on your part?”


You need hands to hold a brand-new job down

If the manager is at least willing to admit they made a mistake as well as you, then I think you shake hands and say, “Ok, we both made a mistake, we both will go back and get on with business as usual.” This is the best outcome as long as your reasons for working with the company in the first place and their reasons to have hired you are still true and aligned.

It takes a certain maturity to be able to do this. If you and the manager can, then for sure you can both be proud of yourself and for sure the rest of the team will find it easier to rehabilitate their view of both of you also.
“Humiliation” can be a rite of passage in certain groups. I remember once I called into one radio shock-jock and got torn into pieces and when I looked in the skype chat where the fans were listening and discussing live, instead of the expected mockery I was reading celebration about a new member of the in-crowd (me) who had got “boyed off (Tommy) Boyd”! Did you check if this is the culture here? If so, you may as well go with the culture. It is hard to change cultures single-handedly, and as long as all it is is a little humiliation, no biggy. It can be in fact very good for people to have their ego taken down every so often.

If you didn’t do anything that deserved criticism, then say to the manager that criticism when undeserved is as far as you are concerned constructive dismissal (this is a term worth looking up on Wikipedia, and finding out if it applies in your jurisdiction and HOW it applies, and here again you need a local lawyer and not Quorans who might know very well how it is in New Zealand or Oregon, but this will be of little help if you are in Dubai or St Neots.) If you are in luck then not only can you leave but also you can claim compensation as if you had been sacked.

Still not as good as shaking hands (edit: Covid-permitting) and getting back to the job, though.

Radix malorum est gravitas

I think the real answer, my friend, is blowing in the direction of developing of a thicker skin, less fragile ego, and a more refined sense of fun, even at one’s own expense. People with these qualities have more success. Gravitas is great, but it has its limits. “Face without jokes is dead”, as the Apostle James didn’t say, but might have done if he had been writing a coaching booklet rather than an Epistle General to the early Church.

And now, let’s make a little prophesy, shall we? Let’s say you do flounce off because this manager got you upset whether or not you deserved it. Let’s say you go to a new company. Now let’s say that in a few months or years, someone who was in the room watching you get owned that day gets hired. They don’t want you up above them, and nor do a couple of others, so as they make their friends and alliances in the new place, one day they impart the information about how you reacted to public criticism in your old place, and as soon as someone wants you out of the way of their own career path, they will arrange for the self-same thing to happen again, and the history book on the shelf will once again be repeating itself, and you will once again find yourself flushing your career down the Waterloo.

We don’t run away from our difficult moments. We get back on the horse and ride again, and leave it to Pavlov and his dog to ensure that horse doesn’t play you up for many more iterations.”
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CPA = CIA ???

Original YT playout date: 6 March 2010
Duration: 9:42

In these days where corporate governance is taken more seriously and more responsibility devolves on the external auditor in matters of fraud, which used to be considered more the province of the internal auditor, what new powers are auditors being given to cope with the pressure on them to uncover frauds in corporations? No new powers at all, in most countries. Only the downward pressure on fees (down over the last fifteen years by about 50% on PPP) which means that we have less time to do the additional work.

There are, however, techniques available which are similar to those used by the CIA in non-confrontational interrogation, and these techniques are available taught by ex CIA trainers and operatives. The way in which the profession is going is not the way most CPAs want it to go, but as people of integrity who cannot just pay lip service and sign a statement that we have properly investigated fraud risk and sign underneath that, there seems to be no other option that for us to start to avail ourselves of advanced techniques that really have more to do with psychology and criminology than the traditional practice of accountancy.
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Duda-Bis protests against Raiffeisenbank

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Original YT playout date: 7 February 2009
Duration: 4:07

The following is the original comment from 12 years ago. I kept it in as its relevance to today is somehow abiding.
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Investors’ Obstacle Course

Original YT playout date: 26 January 2009
Duration: 6:11

We took part in this conference, organised by, the leading English language newspaper in Poland. My article was in this week’s edition, connected with the theme of the conference, which we were silver sponsors for. About 150 people heard prestigious speakers talk about the investment climate and the things Poland still has to offer even in today’s downturn.
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Tough Times


Original YT playout date: 17 January 2009
Duration: 11:38

Times are tough, with Company presidents taking desperate measure to toughen themselves up for even tougher times to come. On the drive home I talk a bit about my own fitness plans…
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Marzena Richter on TV Biznes


Original YT playout date: 31 December 2008
Duration: 10:19

This young lady is, in effect, a competitor of mine, but also an old friend. We studied accountancy at the same college in London nearly two decades ago, and she has founded a successful practice and well deserved her good reputation on the market. What she says here about the practice of accountancy on TV Biznes in Poland makes me proud as a chartered accountant, as an Englishman, and as her friend. I hope all the best for her and her firm and to all my professional colleagues out there. I hope we are all still here at the end of 2009 however tough it is.
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Polish Christmas Office Party

Original YT playout date: 26 December 2008
Duration: 28:19

Grupa Strategia ( ) your one-stop shop for professional services in Poland for company set-up, tax advice, bookkeeping, audit, mergers and acquisitions, legal advice, software systems (JD Edwards and Galileo/Magique) as well as a fully licensed real estate brokerage for unusual properties, and China consulting, has now completed its move into the new office in Warsaw (as well as having offices in Katowice, Poznan, Gdansk and Poznan). Here we are having our first “wigilia firmowa” with the observing of Polish christmas traditions such as the sharing of the “oplatek” as well as the singing of a selection of Polish and international carols and a table with Polish christmas fare at the end. Enjoy the traditions of the Firm and the country with us, and Merry Christmas!
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Komunikat po polsku o sytuacji z kredytami na rynku

Original YT playout date: 3 December 2008
Duration: 3:40

This is one of the rare occasions I vlog in Polish.

It is a little known fact that about 30% of the short term bank loans in existence to business in this country, (which is the lifeline of a far greater proportion of businesses than in the west, where many would be granted longer term finance) is going to come to its repayment date in the next 3 to 8 weeks.

On the one hand money has become scarcer and dearer, on the other hand, banks have to lend to somebody. Planning refinancing a little in advance and doing a little brushing up your business plan and case for finance can help matters, as can a look across the market.

This vlog is basically a warning to firms not to leave renewing their short term loans to the last minute. Those who do will find that many cannot get refinanced this year either at all, or on much worse conditions – even Firms who have been used to getting the same or better conditions year after year.

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Business Lessons from Jazz (Uncle Davey’s Herts Content S3 E10)

Original YT playout date: 26 October 2008
Duration: 15:10

Jazz principles applied in the workplace can assist in encouraging innovation, says this speaker, with ample musical illustration. It’s the vado again, so the image is not that crisp and the sound level too low, unfortunately. But without the Vado, there wouldn’t have been space to record this great talk at all!
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Chats between Guv and Peeps #1. Leaving the EU.

Guv: Hey, Peeps, shall we remain in the European Union or shall we leave?

Peeps: Well, you know what, Guv, in view of what Merkel is doing and how Obama threatened us with the end of the queue for trade deals, I suppose, marginally, we’d better go, hadn’t we? I am sure we’ll find a way to be independent.

Guv: OK, that’s what we’ll do, then.

Peeps: OK, Good luck. Sie schaffen das, hur hur hur.

Two and a half years later:

Guv: Well, Peeps, it’s now nearly three years later, Obama is long gone, Merkel’s on her way out, there’s lots of countries in the EU that would be our allies these days for a less federalist Europe. The guy in charge of the USA is all infavour of our leaving now, but for his own benefit. It’s clear that the whole business of leaving has a lot more issues than we knew about before, and you’ve got 5% more young people who wanted to stay in the electorate now, so are you QUITE SURE you still want to leave?

Peeps: How dare you ask us again? We gave you a clear signal? Wanna go undermining our demotrachic rights?! Disgusting!!!!

Uncle Davey Annoyed By Salesperson

Original playout date: 28 January 2008
Duration: 3:36

This is a film which got quite a reacion with quite a few people I know ironically starting to call me “Mr James” when this is obviously aimed at people you don’t know trying to call and sell you something.
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Teammates having fun in Pułtusk

Original playout date: 28 October 2007
Duration: 13:44

We’re having a day at Pultusk’s Dom Polonia. The match you see is in the vicinity of the castle, the shots from the meal are in the castle itself, and the evening karaoke competition (which I won, BTW, but I didn’t have any memory card left to film it) was in the castle grounds.
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